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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Homeless Storage for Westminster Senior Center Next Town Hall Meet, 15 September; Comments by Homeless Committee Chair

Westminster Senior Center for storage of homeless “stuff” will be discussed at the next town hall forum which will be 15 September 6 to 8 pm, Westminster Elementary School, 1010 Abbot Kinney Blvd.  Previous time stated 7 to 9 pm.

Councilman Mike Bonin mentioned at the homeless input meet Thursday (8 september) at the Westminster School that he planned to look into the Mobile Storage proposed by the Venice Neighborhood Council Homeless Committee. He also made the statement that the City Attorney Mike Feuer had looked over the deed restrictions of the senior center, gave no statement regarding such,  and indicated that he would continue to plan on using the senior center.

David Graham-Caso, communications director for Councilman Bonin, said that Bonin was investigating the Mobile Storage Program but would continue with updating the senior center anyway.  It needed updating either way, he said.  When asked about the agreement with Chrysalis to manage the storage, Graham-Caso said that it was not to happen until November.

Although it was not to be the subject of the Homeless Town Hall held Thursday, the Westminster Senior Center kept creeping into the comments.  People kept commenting that they could not understand why Bonin planned to use the senior center. The Venice Neighborhood Council, advisory to the Councilman, voted “no” overwhelmingly regarding using the senior center for storage … the deed was specific regarding the restrictions … and the Homeless Committee had come up with a Mobile Storage Program, yet Bonin was moving forward. Bonin said he would definitely look at the mobile storage program proposed but that he was going forward with the senior center.

Many people voiced their concerns and opinions that this was all a done deal.  All said they were just told it would be used for storage and the work began. There had been no input from the people.

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Comments made by the chair of the VNC Homeless Committee, following Kip Pardue’s take on the meeting:

For those of you who missed Bonin’s meeting at Westminster Elementary School last night, you missed the Councilman state that his plan for utilizing the Westminster Senior Center for homeless storage was moving forward, regardless that an alternative mobile solution has been presented by the Homeless Committee that could not only be be up and running within 60-90 days, but would also provide more caseworkers and services for the homeless community than the original plan and could be executed much more efficiently and economically.

For Councilman Bonin to say that the VNC failed to present alternative options when we voted down his Senior Center plan last month is incredibly misleading and irresponsible, as we had just recently been sworn in and the homeless committee had just been formed a week prior. The VNC election results were challenged and we were not confirmed by the city until just days before being sworn in, which also delayed our ability to form and confirm committees.

When the VNC finally met as a unit, I was voted as the committee chairman and I brought together a killer team of experienced and brilliant people with an incredible depth of knowledge of the issues we face with homelessness. Our team met for the first time a few weeks later and brainstormed ideas. We came up with our superior mobile storage plan (along with a workable budget) in lightening speed, presented that plan at our next meeting where it found incredible support from the community, passed unanimously and will be presented to the VNC 9/20. This work was all done in less than 45 days of our committee being formed, and Bonin wants to makes it sound like we were all sleeping on the job when the truth is that we’ve all been hard at work since day one trying to undo the debacle he created.

The Westminster Senior Center was not built, nor intended, and is legally prohibited from being utilized for this purpose and ultimately this location is inappropriate and unsafe for this homeless storage program. Whether that plan is temporary or not, it’s ill-conceived. The Homeless Committee rejected it, the Venice Neighborhood Council rejected it, the community as a whole rejected it and common sense rejects it as irresponsible, unsafe and reckless.

The Homeless Committee supports the need for some form of a storage program, but we highly recommend the mobile plan we’ve presented as the safest and most efficient option for all involved. Our plan not only includes much needed storage, but also includes on-the-ground caseworkers that provide daily services to the homeless community and it also includes funds to employ a number of un-homed individuals to assist in the program as well as working daily to keep our streets, sidewalks and alleys clean.

Around the world Venice is known to be a community of creative and innovative people. Doesn’t it make sense that the solutions to the issues we face as a community be creative and innovative as well? Let’s think big and be outliers and leaders in solving these types of problems. Let’s create the kind of solutions that inspire and influence other communities and municipalities to think outside the box too.

Thanks to the incredible members of the homeless committee who have worked painstakingly to create this plan.

Comments (17)

  1. Anonymous

    Racist has become the most overworked term in Venice these days – No, Bonin is NOT racist because he is placing the homeless facilities near schools. Foolhardy and possibly a bit vindictive, but I’m sure that they did not check the demographics at the local schools before making those decisions. Racist is calling all people of color poor and saying that they are being forced from Venice by white people. This is all about green, as in money. There are plenty of wealthy families of all races that could afford to live here, if they desired, but elect not to because of all of the squalor that had been encouraged and actually developed by, not only Mike, but a number of city officials who are part of this equation. Not really sure what this is all about but somehow building a beachside community for the less fortunate in the name of ethnic diversity is what is planned. We used to call these “projects” and most cities are tearing them down.

  2. Anonymous

    Mike Bonin doesn’t care about Venice residences who want a safe place to live. He wants to cater to the homeless, make it comfortable for them and get more of them in Venice, so that his special interest donor who actually make money off homeless services can benefit. We need to vote Mike Bonin out of office this March election.

  3. anonymous

    There is also Elitism and Segregation going on in Venice. Not just in our neighborhood schools. We are loosing the diversity we once had. I’m not racist or saying all white people are boring but last time I went to Manhattan Beach I felt like I just entered “White People’s Beach”. The school district there is the same too: Blonde haired blue eyed kids and the the rest are Asian, or asian “mixed”. Not a good thing when someone that doesn’t like to wear a helmet when biking mentioned a Vexit. I don’t want Venice to become a place where white people, asian and “asian/white mixed” can maintain their boring lifestyle.

    • Anonymous

      Who is going to ensure that the people who use the homeless storage center are not sex offenders? Who is going to ensure that these children (who are primarily low SES, Hispanic, and African American) are not further exposed to drug use and mental illness on a daily basis? The RVs are already allowed to park around the perimeter of the schools and frequently leave their bottles of urine and bags of feces along the sidewalk. Children need to feel safe and secure in their environment to be able to focus on learning. Having a homeless storage center across the street is not the answer.

  4. anonymous

    We are not going to stop protecting humans rights. This reminds me of that Twilight Zone episode where the Nazi Commander is getting a taste of his own medicine. This is just the beginning. To the gentrifiers: I’ve seen you flying over Westminster Elementary like a predatory bird. I’d hate to see Westminster turn into what Broadway Elementary is now. Even Ramon Cortines pointed out that is their is Elitism and Segregation thriving at Broadway Elementary so he cut that mandarin program in half to teach them a lesson. Stop segregating our community lumberjacks! You think you are the only ones on this site that have the right to express their mind! I have tons of trash to talk about you gentrifiers! You want a clean Venice but you gentrifiers are the dirtiest.

  5. anonymous

    Bonin is a RACIST. Westminster Elementary is mostly African-America and Hispanic students that have a fundamental right to an education. That included being able to walk to school safely. Bonin is recklessly putting all these students at risk with this conversion. Can Bonin guarantee the safety of our children once all these transients and homeless (some who could be sex offenders) are across the street from an elementary school. Bonin would never do this in Mar Vista where his son is being raised.

    • lee

      not only is it wrong, it will not solve anything and create a more dangerous environment in our community. Most homeless people I run into are always intoxicated and are capable of anything that can harm us. As is, I don’t feel safe walking to grocery store at night. Making the park and the senior center a homeless storage center will only invite more trouble. Who’s agenda is Bonin pushing and why?!

  6. bill firschein

    bonin clearly shows his contempt for the venice community by initiating work on a multi service center for homeless. to include showers, dining facilities, possibly sleeping facilities. and without posted permits

    • lee

      voted in to help the community not harm it, He is doing the opposite and moving his own agenda forward. No one in the community is on board and not sure why we can’t appeal this.

  7. bill firschein

    extensive infrastructure work in progress at the Sr center to provide for showers, sanitary facilities, etc as part of bonin’s plan for homeless utilization. i doubt that he has a cdp for this kind of work; which would require hearings and debate as well as amendment to the statute by the commission and state senate. he misled the coastal commission no doubt.

  8. […] the story.   The flyer in the story was passed out by members of the homeless committee at the meeting. […]

  9. […] Nick Z { Will, If we build storage, whether mobile or fixed, will the City be able to clean up daytime encampments without the BS 24-hour notice or ridiculous bag-and-tag rule? I get that they will still be able to sleep from 10pm-6am or whatever until a certain level of housing is built…. } – 0909 9:11 AM […]

  10. Nick Z

    Will,

    If we build storage, whether mobile or fixed, will the City be able to clean up daytime encampments without the BS 24-hour notice or ridiculous bag-and-tag rule? I get that they will still be able to sleep from 10pm-6am or whatever until a certain level of housing is built.

    I am all for storage if it allows the city to argue that there are alternatives to storing it on the sidewalks and can then clean things up, but if all we get is double the storage capacity in Venice for transient possessions, why bother spending any money at all since we get nothing for it.

  11. Will Hawkins

    The mobile storage program that the Homeless Committee presented is a far superior plan than Bonin’s Westminster Senior Center option and can be up and running within 60-90 days of approval. It makes zero sense for the city not to explore this option before rubber stamping Bonin’s overwhelming unpopular Senior Center plan that has already been voted down by the VNC and according to its deed, is prohibited from being utilized as such.

    The people’s voice has been heard, yet ignored. Valid and actionable alternative plans have been presented and they too have been heard and ignored. We simply cannot stand for this.

    Our committee is not against supplying this storage service to the homeless community. We are against the Westminster Senior Center being utilized for that purpose and we whole-heartedly support our mobile storage plan as a viable, actionable and reasonable alternative that benefits the entire community.

    Will Hawkins
    Venice Comminity Officer
    Chairman- Homeless Committee

    • anonymous

      To Will Hawkins: I whole-heartedly believe Will Hawkins plan will not benefit the community as much as Affordable Housing for low income and also the homeless. There are not too many buses that can fill a job of helping the homeless in Venice. Right now as we speak, the bus systems that we do have already help low income and the homeless get around. Can you imagine what were to happen if the metro line that runs from Downtown all the way down to Venice Beach line 33 gets shut down, or routed to go somewhere else besides Venice Beach? That would be the end of Los Angeles as we know it. The homeless and low income depend on low cost transportation via our transportation systems. What Will Hawkins is proposing is unrealistic and a waste of money. The bottom line is this Will Hawkins: You don’t want the homeless or low income here anymore in Venice. I saw how many white people attended that meeting at Westminster and I’m not racist or saying white people are boring, but all the shenanigans you white people play just to get us low income and homeless people out of your face in Venice is taking a toll on your own health. Hate is a negative energy and you hate and despise the homeless and low income. It shows in your VNC meetings too when I see nothing but anger coming out of your vibes. Perhaps it’s true what goes around comes around and I see it happening to you at the VNC and to all the so called community members. You can’t disguise hate with long elaborate words interwoven into what you call “law” and “order”. The truth you can never hide from. Stop trying to discriminate against people you don’t like Will Hawkins. Have you been to Manhattan Beach lately? Not a role model for what Venice should become.

    • anonymous

      I don’t mean the community members that have a hate filled mind and body. I mean the community members who embody the true spirit of Venice of compassion and tolerance for others. The shenanigans stop now! We can have homeless housing in Venice and more low income housing. We can also have more storage for the homeless in Venice. Nothing is wrong with helping people. Housed people are just the same as the unhoused. They just live outside which is unfortuante and have nothing to hide from. I’m seeing people rolling up to these pot shops in brand new BMW’S and not one thing is wrong with them. People from all walks of life have problems housed or not. We need to help them or face the future knowing we turned our backs on them and bussed them out with mobile help units. Lets not do what Foursquare does and send them all to places like Carson.

      • lee

        Anonymous,
        What about safety for the community. All you’re doing is inviting our families to move out of Venice to make room for intoxication and drug addiction on the streets that need more one on one individual help than providing lockers. The program introduced by VNC Homeless committee addressed this point specifically. kids and women in this community need to feel safe and turning the Senior Center into a central hub for intoxicated and strained on drugs homeless individuals who need real help not just storage is very harmful to the community.

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